Martineaus handles universities’ merger

Martineau Johnson has bagged the role of adviser on a rare university merger. The firm will advise the University of North London and London Guildhall University on their upcoming merger.

A four-partner team led by head of education Nicola Hart is advising on the merger, which should be completed by 1 August. Rachel Woolf and Paul Pharaoh from the education team and corporate partner David Allison are also involved.

Martineaus was initially appointed by the universities to advise on possible merger issues. The firm had handled only limited work for London Guildhall in the past, but was appointed on the basis of its expertise in this niche area.
Allison said: “We advised on the aborted merger between the universities of Aston and Birmingham. I can’t think of another university merger and there just aren’t that many law firms in this field with this type of expertise.”

Once the universities had decided to go ahead with the merger in principle, they carried out a competitive tender to appoint a law firm to implement it, with Martineaus coming out on top. The firm will also continue as principle legal adviser to the merged universities from the date of the merger.

Martineaus dominates the education market in the Midlands, although it did recently lose De Montfort University to Eversheds‘ education team. The firm now has 14 universities and four higher education institutes on its books and has had some success in extending its reach outside the Midlands – for example, it was recently appointed as the principal legal adviser to Cardiff University and Queen’s University in Belfast.